Thanks for Nothing

Bush Administration, Iraq War

Bonnie Erbe writes in today’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

A new poll of leaders of Iraqi women’s-rights groups finds that women were treated better and their civil rights were more secure under deposed President Saddam Hussein than under the faltering and increasingly sectarian U.S.-installed government.

It’s sacrilege to say that anything was better under Saddam than it is now. Erbe better be careful the rightie Thought Police don’t catch her.

This is doubly troubling. It’s troubling first because the Bush administration used the issue of women to justify its now widely criticized invasion of Iraq in part by promising to improve the situation of women.

It’s troubling second because the administration has issued news releases, held public meetings and tried to gain media attention (as well as U.S. public support) for all the “good” it’s supposedly doing the women of Iraq via this invasion.

Even though their rights are supposed to be protected by the Iraqi constitution, women are finding that the constitution doesn’t mean squat. Sharia law rules. Women are being forced to veil themselves, and “fewer women are working in professional jobs than when Saddam was in power,” writes Erbe.

Last week Reuters reported on this same poll

According to the findings of a recent survey by local rights NGOs, women were treated better during the Saddam Hussein era – and their rights were more respected – than they are now.

“We interviewed women in the country and met with local NGOs dealing with gender issues to develop this survey, which asked questions about the quality of women’s life and respect for their rights,” said Senar Muhammad, president of Baghdad-based NGO Woman Freedom Organisation. “The results show that women are less respected now than they were under the previous regime, while their freedom has been curtailed.”

There have been numerous reports that say Iraqi women generally are more subject to rape and assault now than they were before the invasion; for example, this, this, and this.

And in that other nation we “liberated,” Afghanistan, the New York Times reported in March 2004 that increasing numbers of Afghan women were setting themselves on fire to escape the horror of their lives. Way to go, neocons.

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  1. Edward Deevy  •  Apr 19, 2006 @10:08 am

    In order to build support for regime change in Iraq the Neo-Cons in the mainstream media had to totally demonize Saddam Hussein. They made regular references to Saddam as another Hitler. He needed to be eliminated so that women could be liberated. This despite the fact that women held high positions in government, in academia and in the professions.
    As your post points out, this has all changed in the “new’ Iraq. Now, these same Neo-Cons want us to move on and liberate women in Iran.What lunatics!

  2. KS  •  Apr 19, 2006 @11:13 am

    Iraqi women don’t need rights, they’ve got Oprah:

    Sahar Moussa, a 40-year-old teacher, said that watching television has become a daily “passion” in her life, especially during the evenings after she gets back home from school.

    “I love watching satellite TV channels,” she said. “I can’t think of doing anything else rather than to sit and watch TV.”

    With endless television programs available through satellite channels, the only show that Moussa thinks is worth watching is “The Oprah Winfrey Show”.

    “I love ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’,” she said. “I liked her when she gave away cars to her audience for free!”

    Before violence escalated in Baghdad’s streets, Moussa said she enjoyed visiting friends or shopping late at night.

    Although she said she enjoyed watching TV, she said it also had its drawbacks. “I gained a few pounds in one week,” she said. “From now on, I have to stop eating chips.”

  3. Donna  •  Apr 19, 2006 @11:39 am

    Maybe the ultra religious Christian right folks secretly do not want women to be ‘liberated’ any more than the ultra religious fanatics of other faiths do. I base this opinion on the fundies’ curious silence about what is happening to women in Iraq and Afganistan.

  4. justme  •  Apr 19, 2006 @12:57 pm

    Don’t get the idea I am pooh poohing the situation for women in Iraq and Afganistan, because I am not.I am terrified for the women of the world period…all of us, but we can’t have this conversation, IMHO, without adding American women to this topic… the things that are happening to us are meant to return us to the stone ages, and if we allow these things to happen to us,, the rest of the women of the world are doomed.

    While the rest of the world looks to us, the US is treating women like property.While the rest of the world watches women in America are having the basic right to control their own bodies taken 2006 in AMERICA women are having trouble getting birth control (UN -FRIGGIN -REAL!).. And as our country prepares to give 11 million illegals amnesty,AMERICAN women still make less per hour than a man for the same job.

    Women , in this country, are on the way back to the days when women were not considered whole human beings.Women in this country, have been and always will be the property of a man, thus the last names we carry,, we are our fathers property until we marry, then we are the husbands property…there is no identity of our own, we are only the name men give us.

    If a woman can’t make her own choices with her doctor, how long will it be before men decide if we can’t be trusted to make that choice , maybe we can’t make others as well? Like driving, voting, owning property…….I actually saw a discussion on a blog this week that said”was she asking for it?” in regard to the duke rape…….can you imagine??? WAS SHE ASKING FOR IT???Are we coming to a place in our lives where women might be required to have a male escort to go shopping so we aren’t “asking for it”?

    Yes , maha, you are correct about the women in Iraq and afghanistan, and it is heart breaking..I would like to think the women of this country could band together to help the women suffering there, but who will save us?…..I am so glad you brought this up Maha,,I hope it is a wake up call for all women.

  5. The piano player(donshoot)  •  Apr 19, 2006 @1:11 pm

    What’s the “American” burhka?
    A homosexual who dresses as a republican.

  6. bfranky  •  Apr 19, 2006 @3:29 pm

    Religious fundamentalists here in the Homeland want women to be pregnant again and again. If they are pregnant over and over, they won’t be able to work, because they’ll be too busy doing household chores. And if they are home, they won’t be at work where they are always tempting men by putting bad thoughts in their heads which always leads to affairs and wrecked homes. And if they aren’t working in an office, only men will be there, so they can let it all out, tell dirty jokes, be loud, complain about the little woman at home, and be real men in what will truly be a Man’s World.

    That’s where we are going. These right-wing conservative fundamentalists aren’t that different from the Taliban. They don’t like women. That’s the common denominator.

    Check out a new book about this: The Department of Homeland Decency: Decency Rules and Regulations Manual. It’s a hilarious satire. You can sample it at

  7. Donna  •  Apr 19, 2006 @5:39 pm

    Uh oh, don’t know why I, who cannot for the life of me remember jokes, just did remember an old one:

    Didja hear about the bisexual baby born last month?
    Yeah, it was born with a penis and a brain…….

    [guess I was thinking how sane the world might be if more women were in charge…..Malkin and Coulter and a some others excepted]

  8. Kevin Hayden  •  Apr 19, 2006 @6:33 pm

    OT: Been getting my email, Barbara?

  9. Unqualified to speak  •  Apr 21, 2006 @11:42 am

    Sometimes it’s hard to tell America’s version of democracy from mob rule. A handful of citizens (usually the handful that shouts USA! USA!) get to make decisions for everybody else while their rights and freedoms are cast out the window. The basis of democracy is the constitution preventing whoever is in power from subverting the peoples rights or cruelly manipulating them. The current American government has been slowly shredding their constitution while the newly ‘democratic’ middle eastern countries don’t seem to have one between them. Please tell me exactly what is RIGHT in this picture?

  10. the bewilderness  •  Apr 22, 2006 @12:47 pm

    Theocracies all look alike to the underclasses. Probably because all theocracies treat the underclasses the same. I always thought theocracy would be a hard sell here. Guess not.

  11. Shrimp and Scallops with Chow Mein  •  Apr 23, 2006 @2:02 am

    The Hitler libel works everytime, thank you Mr. Feith.

  12. Gigif Barabanovz  •  Dec 28, 2007 @8:45 am

    “It’s not because of fate, it’s because of Tequila” That may be the best thing I have ever read in my whole life!